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Solar plane: around the world without fuel & with zero emissions

The prototype of a solar-powered plane, the size of an Airbus and the weight of a mid-sized car, destined for a record round-the-world journey has made its first trip across a runway. The plane covered at least 2km at speeds of up to 5 knots on the landing strip in Switzerland. This test run saw the Solar Impulse plane outside its hangar for the first time, with tests of its motors and computer. As wide as a jumbo jet but weighing just 1,500 kg, the plane's final version will attempt to cross the Atlantic in 2012.


Solar Impulse has the wingspan of a Jumbo Jet but the weight of a small car.  However one thing that this  solar plane cannot handle is bad weather. Because the solar panels are needed for day flying and for charging the 400-kilogram lithium batteries that power the plane by night, it relies on sunshine.


Trivia: Adventurer Bertrand Piccard(co-founder) in 1999 co-piloted the first round-the-globe non-stop balloon flight.
 
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